Puerto Rico official resigns

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The Puerto Rico governor’s liaison to the Puerto Rico Oversight Board, who also serves as executive director of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority announced his resignation.

Elí Díaz Atienza told Gov. Wanda Vázquez Friday he will step down from both positions effective Feb. 27.

“The time has come to allow myself to consider new options for professional growth in the private sector while there is change and renewal being made to the authority,” Díaz Atienza said. “I feel deeply proud of the achievements made under my responsibility and particularly satisfied for having honored the trust placed in me by governors Rosselló and Vázquez and by the authority’s governing board.”

PRASA Executive Director Eli Diaz in September 2019
PRASA Executive Director Elí Díaz is resigning at the end of February.

Vázquez said, “In difficult times, he accepted the challenge and demonstrated his ability, professionalism and passion to work for the development of Puerto Rico.”

In February 2017, then-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló appointed Díaz Atienza executive director of PRASA. In August 2019, Vázquez appointed Díaz Atienza liaison to the oversight board. His predecessor, Christian Sobrino Vega, resigned his multiple government positions in July as part of the fallout from the publication of private online chats among Rosselló officials.

Díaz Atienza was the fourth person to hold the liaison position since the board was created in the summer of 2016.

As of February 2017, PRASA had $4.6 billion of debt outstanding. While it has renegotiated the terms of monies owed to the federal government, it hasn’t yet made a monetary default on its bond debt. The authority has negotiated with bondholders to reduce payments, but no agreement has been presented to the bankruptcy court.

In other commonwealth news, on Thursday the Panel on the Independent Special Prosecutor appointed two special prosecutors to determine whether Rosselló and five others should be charged with crimes based on the offensive chats that led to Rosselló's resignation.

Along with the governor and Sobrino Vega, those who face possible charges are: former liaison to the board Elías Sánchez, former gubernatorial Chief Legal Advisor Alfonso Orona Amilivia, former Secretary of Public Affairs Ramón Rosario Cortés, and former outside publicist for the governor Edwin Miranda Reyes.

The prosecutors have 90 days to conduct the investigation and file charges, if warranted.

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Puerto Rico Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority PROMESA Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corp (COFINA) Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financial Authority